written by Tangela Writes Things
Depression lies and is a thief of joy.
It can steal away every ounce of pleasure in your life and you may not realize it until it’s gone. You might be moving through your days, only going through the motions. There is nothing to smile about, nothing to look forward to, no real reason to keep pushing through the sadness. I believe that depression is lethal for this reason. People’s happiness is slowly drained from their lives, leaving behind a scarred husk of a human.
I know because I’ve been there.
There have been times that I couldn’t manage to leave my house. Making a trip to the bathroom might have been the highlight of my afternoon during those times. Bathing and hair care were out of the questions. I wore whatever and tied my hair down. The hair alone is a major chore that I couldn’t be bothered with.
I couldn’t manage to feed myself regularly. Normally, I have to watch what I eat for various reasons but not during a severe depressive episode. Why bother? What I needed didn’t matter to anyone anyway. If I ate, it was junk or foods that would make my body ache. I would knowingly hurt myself because who cares?
When I was wallowing in my misery, my husband would buy me a plant. Which sounds weird on the surface, I know. Why would you get a depressed person, who won’t drink water for herself, a plant that needs to be regularly hydrated?
Under normal circumstances, I love plants. Gardening is one of the pleasant parts of my life. Doing the hard work of cultivating the land for my leaf babies to thrive is amazing. It can be grueling depending on the weather, but I don’t mind. The sun feels amazing on my skin and I have a fancy hat for days when the sunlight is too harsh. I love the feeling of digging into the dirt and feeling the ground’s warmth. It’s a nice reminder that the planet is alive, that you are alive.
The Healthy Roots
The plant I love the most is the Russian Mammoth Sunflower. They can grow to over six feet tall on average, some have gotten even bigger. The world record for the tallest sunflower was set in 2014 at 9.17 m (30 ft 1 in). This is an extreme case, but they can get very large. The tallest one I’ve ever grown:
I could go on and on about how amazing sunflowers are. They are heliotropes, which means that they track the sun’s movement across the sky from east to west. It can be kind of trippy to see. Most plants don’t noticeably move as the day goes on. They face one way when I leave for work and another when I get home. It’s really cool.
I grow other plants too. Herbs and peppers mostly. I also have a pair of peppermint and citronella bushes for my front porch. The strong oils keep the mosquitos at bay. Which is nice for summer nights when I want to bask in the night air.
Caring for my plants helps me to get out of my head. I have a task that can benefit me in the long run and the yard looks nice from the street. I spend a lot of time at home by myself during the summers. It can be easy to fall into the self-hating trap when I have nobody else to talk to. However, I can talk to the plants.
I can talk through some anxieties, vent about things I’m upset about, or cry on them if I need to. Plus, their respiration process is the reverse of ours. They take in carbon dioxide and create oxygen. My breathing on them is good for both of us.
Gardening is a workout too! Depending on what you are doing, spending the day in the yard is just a good as a visit to the gym. Pulling weeds, tilling soil, and planting are all full-body activities that burn loads of calories. Be sure to drink lots of water while you garden.
Dehydration can set in quickly while a person is exerting themselves. You will be exhausted by the time you decided to stop for the day and being dehydrated on top of that will make sure that you have a bad evening.
I believe that gardening is my saving grace during the summer. I can kill a lot of time in the yard instead of being holed up in my dark bedroom. Which is never good for anyone’s mental health. Keeping my plants healthy is my primary coping mechanism for when depression tries to tell me I’m not worth keeping alive. I have to be worth it.
Who else is going to roast all these sunflower seeds?
I talk about more of my mental health adventures in my book; Sad, Black and Fat: Musings from the intersections, which is being released on August 5th, 2021. In the meantime, you can keep up with my work over on my website, twillspannwrites.com.
Thanks for reading my post on my take on healthy roots – I’ll see you around!
About The Blogger:
Hey everyone. My name is Tangela and I blog about mental health and wellness. Writing is helpful to me as I’ve been living with depression and anxiety for my whole life. I can tell you that my day-to-day life can be stressful. I talk about more of my mental health adventures in my book; Sad, Black and Fat: Musings from the intersections, which is being released on August 5th, 2021. In the meantime, you can keep up with my work over on my website, twillspannwrites.com.
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